(The office of state Sen. Mark Leno circulated this release on Nov. 13, 2012)
I am pleased to report that Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law 12 bills we put on his desk this legislative session. Our diverse bill package was designed to help and protect Californians from all walks of life. These new laws create protections for veterans, foster youth and people with disabilities. They also help prevent sex trafficking crimes and ensure that we do not waste our limited public dollars on inmates who are so severely incapacitated that they pose no threat to public safety.
One of the most important issues our office worked on this year is human trafficking. Senate Bill 1133 helps prevent sex trafficking crimes involving minors, and was sponsored by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. It helps ensure that criminals who are convicted of sex trafficking crimes are denied access to the resources, equipment, and cash flow that would allow them to operate and commit future crimes.
The governor also signed another bill related to public safety that provides local sheriffs with the tools they need to manage seriously ill inmates. SB 1462 extends to county jails the same authority to utilize compassionate release and medical parole that is currently granted to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. In order to qualify, the prisoner must pose no threat to public safety, and either have a life expectancy of less than 6 months or require 24-hour care.
Another one of our bills that received the Governor's signature will help San Francisco County preserve important services and programs. SB 1492 allows the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to ask voters to consider restoring their vehicle license fee to the level it had been from 1948 to 1998. If approved by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Supervisors and a majority vote at the ballot, the revenue raised could be used to fund vital local programs, including public safety, transit, health and social services and fire protection. If San Francisco voters restore their vehicle license fee to its historic level of 2%, it would provide around $75 million annually to the city.
Earlier this year, Governor Brown signed into law our Homeowner Bill of Rights, co-authored by a host of other Senators. This bill provides significant consumer protections against unnecessary foreclosure and ends the practice known as dual tracking, preventing lenders from filing for a foreclosure while a homeowner is in the process of applying for a loan modification.
Governor Brown also signed our legislation that reaffirms that no member of the clergy will be required to perform a marriage that is contrary to his or her faith. SB 1140 also protects religious denominations from losing their tax-exempt status if they refuse to perform a marriage that is contrary to their faith.
Unfortunately, two of our bills this year were vetoed. One of those bills would have protected against warrantless government searches of a person's whereabouts and movements based on information received from an electronic device, such as a cell phone. The other would have given courts the ability to recognize that a child has more than two legal parents when doing so is required to protect the child's best interests.
Most of our bills signed by Governor Brown will become law on January 1, 2013. It is my pleasure to enact measures that improve the quality of life for my constituents and all Californians.
For a complete list of all the bills I authored that were signed or vetoed by the Governor, please visit www.sen.ca.gov/Leno.
Senator Mark Leno